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Growing Up in Armyville

Canada's Military Families during the Afghanistan Mission

By Deborah Harrison & Patrizia Albanese
Subjects Family & Relationships, Social Science, Child Studies
Series Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada Hide Details
Paperback : 9781771122344, 258 pages, October 2016
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771122580, 258 pages, October 2016

Table of contents


1. Real Changes for Real People: Canadian Military Involvements Since the Second World War

2. Growing Up in a Military Family

3. Growing Up in Armyville

4. Life Just Before a Deployment

5. Life During a Deployment

6. Life After the Deployed Parent Returns Home

7. New Beginnings at Armyville High School


Afterword: Some Reflections by David McTimoney



It was 2006, and eight hundred soldiers from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) base in pseudonymous “Armyville,” Canada, were scheduled to deploy to Kandahar. Many students in the Armyville school district were destined to be affected by this and several subsequent deployments. These deployments, however, represented such a new and volatile situation that the school district lacked—as indeed most Canadians lacked—the understanding required for an optimum organizational response. Growing Up in Armyville provides a close-up look at the adolescents who attended Armyville High School (AHS) between 2006 and 2010. How did their mental health compare with that of their peers elsewhere in Canada? How were their lives affected by the Afghanistan mission—at home, at school, among their friends, and when their parents returned with post-traumatic stress disorder? How did the youngsters cope with the stress? What did their efforts cost them? Based on questions from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, administered to all youth attending AHS in 2008, and on in-depth interviews with sixty-one of the youth from CAF families, this book provides some answers. It also documents the partnership that occurred between the school district and the authors’ research team. Beyond its research findings, this pioneering book considers the past, present, and potential role of schools in supporting children who have been affected by military deployments. It also assesses the broader human costs to CAF families of their enforced participation in the volatile overseas missions of the twenty-first century.


Poet Raymond Souster, a WWII volunteer, said once that every patriot who would send Canadians to war should first walk through the ward in a veterans’ hospital. They should also read Armyville.

- Holly Doan, Blacklock's Reporter

Growing Up in Armyville puts the spotlight not only on the offspring of service members, but directly on adolescents. The book makes an outstanding contribution to the 30 years of research and sets the agenda for understanding the experiences of military adolescents.

- Morten G. Ender, Res Militaris 9, No. 1 (Winter-Spring 2019)

"a groundbreaking work… meticulous, accessible examination of a … military town's home-front reactions to the deployment of troops … [which] contextualizes the war while analyzing [its] often devastating effect … on their children …. [It] is bolstered by extensive, frequently heartbreaking, firsthand stories of … adolescent[s], who … must deal with … new responsibilities as parent substitutes, and [the] …
anxieties and depression [of] knowing a loved one is in a war zone.  …Out of the mouths of babes come remarkably perceptive insights.

- Publishers Weekly